The news is shocking–in New York it has been suggested that medical teams think carefully about who they give their limited number of life-saving ventilators to. If it likely won’t save the person’s life, the argument goes, why not give it to someone who has a real chance to live?
This sounds heartless, especially if the sick person is someone you love. But this is nothing new. It goes on in hospitals often, when equipment is scarce or prolonging life just for the sake of prolonging life, no matter what quality of life will result, is questioned.
I’m a product of that decision. In the 1940s, polio gripped our nation. I was 3 years old. I was very sick, because I had all three types of polio at once (we found out later, since nobody knew back then that there actually were three types). Iron lungs were scarce. It was fairly certain that I would die. So they gave the iron lung to another child who would clearly benefit from it.
Obviously, I survived. The ordeal was very hard on my parents, but I feel it was the right decision. Otherwise, it could have meant not just my death, despite my use of the iron lung, but also the death of the other child who was deprived of it.
My message is this: medical teams, along with putting their own lives in danger treating patients with the coronavirus, have to make quick, difficult decisions. They’re doing all they can do to save as many people as possible. I don’t judge their actions, because I’m thankful for all they’re doing.